Women are Needy, Fearful and Full of Feelings? Good Thing Men Are Around!

There are a pair of blog posts over at Reformed Baptist Fellowship styled as catechisms, one for Christian wives and the other for Christian husbands. They aren’t really catechisms, but more lists of advice. There are glimmers of helpfulness in them, but for the most part they are awful. Simply awful.

One main problem is that these aren’t really catechisms, and to call them such gives them an air of authority that is just not there. As Patricia Hunt said, this pair of posts “offers no scriptural proofs with his ‘catechism’? Catechisms are for doctrine, doctrine rests on scripture.” There is no scriptural support for any statement in the posts. None.

An even bigger problem is that the writer, a Reformed Baptist pastor, premises the whole thing on faulty doctrine. In the preamble to each post he writes that his purpose is to help people who find themselves in difficult marriages to non-Christians, particularly those marriages where the spouse is “especially ungodly.”

That’s a huge doctrinal mistake. There is no relative degree of godliness or ungodliness for those who do not belong to Christ. The only godliness possible is in those who have the spirit of Christ within them. (Romans 8:9-10.) It is part of the faith that every one who belongs to Jesus has been given (Ephesians 2:8-9), and without this faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6.)

This is Reformed Doctrine 101, and I can’t imagine this pastor being so mistaken on it not once but in both blog posts. The real problem though is that this premise leads the reader to think that all which follows in these “catechisms” is to be measured by how much ungodliness is in the unbelieving spouse, rather than guiding the reader to an understanding that the unbelieving spouse – being without the Spirit – is completely unable to understand the relationship the Christian wife or husband has with God. (1 Corinthians 2:14.)

The posts continue to fail on practical as well as doctrinal grounds repeatedly.

Mistreated Spouses Get Better Than They Deserve?

Take questions 11 and 12 in each post. (I’ll quote the one directed to women. He wrote the identical advice to men, just switching the spousal roles.)

Q11.    How good a husband is my husband to me?

A11.    Much better than I deserve, and therefore I will thank God for him every day.

Q12.    How good a wife am I to my husband?

A12.    Much worse than I ought to be, and therefore I will confess my sins to God every day, asking forgiveness, and to my husband as needed, and continue in prayer for grace to grow into the excellent wife that God wants me to be, and that would be such a blessing to my husband.

If interpreted to mean that all of us deserve death for our sins and therefor anything we receive short of that is more than we deserve, then I suppose he might have some scriptural basis for this. But in the context of two posts on marriage relationships, that interpretation just doesn’t hold up. No, these points are in the context of how people treat one another.

That’s where one of the real big problems comes in, as many commenters to the posts there have shown. He tells women that this advice is a blessing worthy of memorization that will help them in difficult marriages. He then admonishes them that even if this advice does not actually help their “difficult marriage” their husbands are still treating them better than they deserve.

This pastor completely ignores the fact that many people are not treated better than they deserve by their spouses. They are married to people who hurt them. You would think that someone charged with pastoral care of God’s people would know that and write marital advice accordingly.

Women are Needy, Fearful and Full of Feelings!

The post for husbands also includes this point:

Q6.      What is it to live with my wife in an understanding way?

A6.      It is to show her honor as the weaker vessel, being sensitive to her needs, fears, and feelings; to nourish and cherish her with the love and affection of Christ.

This is yet another point where the writer’s blending of a Bible verse with his own take on women and men is conflated in a manner contrary to the meaning of that verse. It looks like he is starting from the biblical instruction that husbands are to treat wives “with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life” (1 Peter 3:7). He then puts his own gloss on the word weakness, identifying it as the wife’s “needs, fears, and feelings.”

How he went from Peter’s use of the word “weaker” to identifying the weakness as wives having fears and needs and feelings reveals more about his view of women culturally than scripturally, because the Bible does not say women are fearful or needy or full of feelings in ways that men don’t share.

As one commenter to the post on these “catechisms” at Spiritual Sounding Board pointed out the sexist nature of the pastor’s advice:

Women aren’t the only ones who can be afraid, needy, and insecure. I’ve known plenty of men who had those characteristics.

I have too. Does that mean the husband is the weaker partner in those marriages? How could he be if the pastor is correct in his reading of 1 Peter 3:7? No, the real answer is that there is no inherently weaker partner in a marriage merely by virtue of which one has a Y chromosome. The original Greek just won’t allow that understanding to hold up.

So here’s my advice to married people, and to everyone else too:

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10.)

and

… whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31.)

The rest is merely details.

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56 Responses to Women are Needy, Fearful and Full of Feelings? Good Thing Men Are Around!

  1. nmcdonal says:

    Hey Tim – fine point on the first catechism question, but you’ll need to do something else with Paul’s describing the wife as the “weaker vessel”. It’s impossible to translate it the way you did, which is why no modern English version has it that way – you’re skipping even the Strong’s literal translation portion which says: “as with a weaker vessel with the female” which is attributing being a “weaker vessel” with the nature of being a “female”. It says: “as a weak vessel female”, if you want to be really crude. I’d be careful not letting your preset ideas about men and women interpret the text here for you.

    • Tim says:

      The Greek doesn’t have punctuation, but it seems that “weaker vessel” could as easily be applied to the husband’s attitude and conduct as to “the female” since the word “with” certainly precedes “the female” according to Strong. I’m not sure why you deleted the word “with” and wrote “as a weak vessel female” instead of “as a weaker vessel with a female”. Is there a linguistic reason that word should not be part of the translation? I included it not because of “preset ideas about men and women” but because according to Strong it’s actually there. Perhaps your deleting it is due to preset ideas? ;-)

      • janehinrichs says:

        I have heard one pastor say that the “weaker” vessel means priceless/delicate, something like treat her with care….can’t remember what the exact words were but when he said it it was the best explanation I had ever heard about this verse. And it sounded right.

        • Tim says:

          Right. Even with Nick’s further excellent explanation below, the idea comes across more as what it means to be in relationship than some sort of ontological “Hey husbands, you’re stronger pots of clay than your wives are”.

  2. nmcdonal says:

    No – the word “with” isn’t there in the Greek. The reason it’s translated “with” in Strong’s is because “the female” is in the dative case, which means it’s an indirect object, and the most common conjunction accompanied with an indirect object is “with”. Since both “weaker vessel” and “the woman” are in the dative case, they are both functioning as the same indirect object, which means they must modify one another – there’s no other grammatical choice. What it literally says, if you were to try and include the grammar would be, “As weak vessel (Indirect Object) the female (indirect object).” This is why Strong’s isn’t really helpful unless you already know the language…Check some scholarly commentaries on it – I don’t think you’ll find anyone claiming “weak vessel” can claim anything other than modification of female nature – there’s no way grammatically it can modify the husband’s attitude, which is the direct object in the initial clause, not the indirect object of the supporting clause.

    • Tim says:

      Excellent work, Nick, and very helpful. I’ll modify the bog post accordingly.

      Which brings me back to the pastor’s “catechism”: taking that verse as meaning that Paul wanted his reader to know that women are in some way weaker than men, does it follow that men are therefore to treat women as being fearful, needy and full of feelings? Because once he starts the list with saying husband’s are to serve their wives as people who have “fears” (as if husbands don’t?) it takes the idea of being weaker vessels and moves it straight into they can’t handle their fears like us stronger vessels can. I don’t think the Bible supports that in any way, so perhaps it is the pastor whose preconceived notions are informing his catechism?

      • nmcdonal says:

        Now that is a good question. To be honest, I don’t know what Paul means by “weak vessel”. Since he doesn’t use that term elsewhere, it’s really difficult to say, isn’t it? Somehow it relates to the husband’s being “understanding” – my best guess is not that it refers to “flightiness” or “fearfulness”. It certainly can’t refer to moral lacking.

        My guess – and this is totally off-hand Bible exegesis, so don’t quote me – but I would guess being the “weaker vessel” is in reference to her role as a woman in the marriage, not to female nature itself: she’s required to submit to the husband’s headship.

        Since her role is to be the “weak vessel”, the husband needs to be especially careful and considerate of her difficult position of submission, and is not to abuse his authority being in a position of God-given power.

        Just a guess.

        • Tim says:

          Your guess is the same way I reasoned through it, Nick, although I’d say the disparate position of the wife and husband in the marriage is how Paul saw the reality of the culture around him as opposed to it being a spiritual disparity. or perhaps you and I are saying the same thing there? In any case, I don’t think it was at all helpful (nor even reasonable) for the pastor to have gone the other way and said that women generally are inherently weaker in having fears, etc.

        • nmcdonal says:

          I don’t know that Paul is saying anything about whether it’s right or wrong in this text here, although you might point to other texts for that. I think he’s pointing us to a picture of a big boat tugging along a small boat (a weaker vessel) and saying to the big boat: “Hey, it’s tough to be the small boat. Be careful.” So no – I wouldn’t say you could conclude women are flighty and fearful because of that text. Not helpful.

        • Tim says:

          That’s another interesting way to look at it, and not without reason when comparing – generally – both cultural positions and physical attributes. Thanks, Nick, once again very helpful. No wonder you and I are bobs!

        • You said, “she’s required to submit to the husband’s headship.”

          And that headship gets back to Eph 5 v 1, the husband must submit to the wife too, and, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” – meaning, the man has to be a servant to his wife and meet her needs, even so far as laying down his life for her.

          The Bible is not describing a military type relationship, where the husband is the “Five Star General” leader and the Wife is the lowly in rank Private who must salute the husband every day and say, “Yes sir, how high do you want me to jump Sir.” Unfortunately, a lot of Christians mis-interpret it to mean that sort of thing.

          God also did not grant the husband any power over the wife. That is reading something into the verses that is not there.

    • I’d have to go back and reread the passage, but could this be a cultural thing?

      Many cultures are patriarchal and grant more rights to men and few to women, so that women get the short end of the stick.

      Taking that into consideration, women could possibly be construed as the weaker vessel, not due to any innate thing or biological property, but due to being considered second class citizens by the culture or government in which they live, which would make it oh so easy for a ruthless man to exploit his wife, if a man so chose.

      Up until the late 19th century, I recall reading somewhere that it was legal in the USA for me to legally beat their wives, provided the rod they used was only oh so many inches in long or what have you. Marital rape was not even counted as illegal until some point in the 1990s in the USA, I believe.

      It’s rather hard for a woman to be a “strong vessel” when the culture she lives in deems her lesser value than a man.

      • Should be “for men to.” I apparently skipped over the “N” when typing that out.

        Also some of my wording was a little awkward in that post, I hope people can understand what I meant in spite of it….

        • Tim says:

          I understood every bit of it, MDF, and your take on why Paul might use the word weaker is in line with what I was thinking. There’s no reason to assume he meant some spiritual quality to the exclusion of the cultural dynamics going on at his time.

  3. janehinrichs says:

    Tim, I don’t know why I am so surprised when I read that this stuff is out there. It saddens me that people write this kind of stuff — mainly because there will be many people who read it, believe it and put it into practice.

    • Tim says:

      Putting it into practice is where I find the great danger too, Jane. In every marriage there is someone who is weaker in some areas than the other. To say that it is always women who are fearing and feeling means that any marriage where the man is not stronger than the woman in those areas is not living up to the Bible. And that’s wrong because it’s not what the Bible itself says about marriage.

    • Julie Anne says:

      There are at least 2 pastors who are commending this pastor’s work. I find that shocking. There were 2 pastors that I am aware of who commented and challenged these articles. It really bothers me when pastors do not speak out against something so obviously wrong as this.

      And it makes me hit my head against the wall knowing that Meadows suggested to ladies to memorize this piece of junk. Ack!!! Yes, let a battered woman repeat to herself after a beating: “I’m getting better treatment than I deserve.”

      • Tim says:

        He not only tells them to memorize it, but in doing so places it on a par with the Westminster Confession of Faith and other catechetical writings. He doesn’t have the benefit of church councils and teams of theologians ironing it out, but he still thinks it as worthy as they of memorization? Arrogance is the word that comes to mind, but perhaps it’s mere thoughtlessness. either way, it is going to do more harm than good.

        • Julie Anne says:

          That’s very true, Tim – he has appointed himself an authority by telling women to memorize it. Arrogance is the appropriate word. Also, the way in which he writes his addendum, he is not willing to change his wording, so even though he has had strong challenges against it, he is not backing down. He is not putting people first, but his pride first. If someone followed his counsel, they could be put in harm’s way. Worse than that, they could be killed by an abuser. I’d be inclined to say this could be labeled as “false teaching.”

      • Beth Caplin says:

        What do we do if we can’t trust our church authorities? My rule used to be, trust people until they give you reasons not to. Now it’s hold people at arm’s length until they prove themselves worthy, which is so anti-gospel, but having dealt with so much BS in churches over the last year or so, I honestly feel safer that way :/

        • Tim says:

          I’ve found that I trust the people I can trust and the rest I wait and see. Biblical? I don’t know.

  4. Jeannie says:

    The language in both “catechisms” is just so bizarre: that our spouses are (uniformly and without exception) “better than [we] deserve,” and that we are (uniformly and without exception) “much worse” spouses to them than we “ought to be.” What exactly does that mean in real life, especially (as you point out) in very difficult marital situations? Even if my wife is having an affair, she’s being a much better wife to me than I deserve, so I’d better fall to my knees in thanksgiving? Even if my husband is abusing me physically and verbally, what I actually deserve is even worse, so I’d better not complain? It’s not just bizarre: it’s wrong and harmful.

    • Tim says:

      Right, Jeannie. Catechisms are supposed to help us understand absolutes (such as God is good always, even if we don’t see his goodness at a particular moment). To generalize as that pastor does and then call is a catechism does violence to language and to the kingdom of God.

  5. EricaM says:

    Sad thing is, this kind of attitude is precisely what gets rational concerns dismissed-after all, women are just bundles of unchecked emotion and nothing else, right??? (Although a brief study of psychology will show the majority of human behavior is at least partially governed by some emotion or another.)

    On the topic of bad scriptural interpretation, I recall hearing someone use this verse to argue that women shouldn’t learn self-defense, they should always have a man around to protect them-father, brother, husband, or something. I had a good long laugh after hearing that one.

    • Tim says:

      Not learn self-defense? Now there’s a case of indefensible exegesis!

    • Erica, I have heard same/similar from male preachers over the years.

      I am over 40 and have never married.

      My only brother lives about 700 or so miles away from me, and he’s not much help even when he is near, he’s too consumed with his troubled marriage for decades now to think of helping anyone else who needs help, including me. (He’s very self absorbed and wrapped up in his own issues.)

      My father is elderly and health declining, he could not defend me if he wanted to (I’d have to defend my dad now, if it came down to it).

      Anyway, I’ve heard male preachers say in TV broadcasts (and have seen this teaching online, Gothard may be one who promotes it) that a woman needs a “male covering” for protection. But the Bible nowhere teaches that.

      What does that teaching mean for women like me, over age 40, who have never married, and we have no male relatives around who can or will or are capable of defending us?

      I don’t think advocates of these (sexist and outdated) views think the logical outcomes through, before they open their mouths or write their blog posts. Not every woman is married to a 6 ft 4 inch karate expert to defend her. Some of us are single, divorced, widowed, whatever.

      My ex fiance? I was the “strong” one in that relationship. He might have defended me from a mugger on the street, I am not sure, but every other area of life, he looked to me as defender, provider, solver or all his problems, etc. I was HIS defender.

      • Tim says:

        I think it was Mr. Piper who once wrote that if a man and woman are together and being attacked, the man had to step up to the woman’s defense and the woman had to refrain from helping. What that would mean for a couple where the woman is the ninja and the man is the weaker vessel physically he did not explain. I suppose after the man is lying on the ground unconscious (or worse) the ninja woman might be able to defend herself? Poor guy on the ground sure loses out on benefiting from her abilities, though.

        • Angie says:

          This is what Piper says about ninja women:

          “Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.” http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/co-ed-combat-and-cultural-cowardice

          For a complementarian, it is interesting given the disparity of strengths and gifts in his example, that it doesn’t occur to Piper that the two could ally and bring together their strengths and gifts in a *complementary* way.

        • Tim says:

          And he doesn’t say what Sarah is supposed to do once Jason is knifed in the gut and bleeding out on the ground. Utter nonsense.

        • I remember that! I remember Wartburg Watch blog discussed that in one post.

          I’m not sure if I remember right, but I think Piper said EVEN IF the women is a judo and karate expert, she should hold back and do nothing, even if she and her male date are being robbed.

          Piper truly lives in a weird universe. And he’s willing for people to sacrifice happiness and physical safety all to maintain unbiblical gender roles he has in mind, it is truly mind boggling.

          More about my brother above, and this whole topic of male/female who protects who stuff.

          I find it interesting that so many of these male preachers harp on about physical protection, because in my personal experience with the guy I was engaged to, relationships with men I’ve had (e.g., my brother), and seeing the men my sister and aunts date/marry….

          I have seen a lot of men lean on women for emotional support or financial support, or other things. There was some downright financial exploitation going on with most of my sister’s boyfriends, and my ex took advantage of me financially. Sometimes women are the defenders and providers in relationships.

          During the 1990s, when my brother’s marriage was under its most stressful (he was also fired from a job or two over the years, which also stressed him out), he was calling our mother up every so often and ranting and crying literally for hours to our mother about all this stuff.

          My brother did not phone up our father for this, nope, he turned to mother, because our father was incapable or unwilling of being a warm and fuzzy, supportive type of guy.

          I also served as a supportive ear and sounding board for my brother a few times over the years. He would phone me, and I’d give him sympathy during his rough spots.

          I can’t speak to all men and for all women, but I have seen repeatedly over my own life, men who need, want, expect, or hope for the women they are friends with, married to, or dating, to bail them out financially or emotionally.

          Other than financially exploiting me, my ex expected me to drive to his apartment (45 minute drive for me) to wash his dirty dishes that were stacked in his sink when he was out of town (he had a job that took him over the road). Things like that.

          He expected me to make big payments for him when he said he was out of money (rent, truck, etc), he expected me to “butter up his ego” whenever his boss at his job gave him a gold star, etc. (He never wanted to do any of this stuff for me in return, by the way, it was one sided.)

          I was wanting my ex to be a rock for me to lean on at least some of the time (my provider, protector, source of encouragement), but nope, he refused to play those roles for me, but sure as heck expected me to always be a rock for him all the time.

          My point being that there are other forms of support besides physical, besides karate, boxing, and judo. Men I have seen frequently go to women in their lives and ask for help, protection, etc, of the financial or emotional variety. Male preachers seem oblivious to this, however.

  6. Maureen says:

    On a recent lazy afternoon overlooking a lake, a bunch of friends were discussing just this topic. The whole exegetical discussion ended when one husband proudly announced that his wife just recently said she would give him one day of entire submission as a birthday gift. Then she added, “At 10am I told him he had to pick a new gift”.

  7. Beth Caplin says:

    I have no fracking clue if we’re still reading the same bible the original writers intended.

    • Tim says:

      I’m OK with considering the text in hand to be close enough to the original to be reliable – the textual criticism experts tend to support that – but seeing how some of today’s pastors apply it in the face of sound understanding of and reasoning about that text’s wording boggles the mind, Beth.

  8. Maya Pinion says:

    A Christian Wife’s Catechism says that her husband is much better than she deserves and that she is a much worse wife than she ought to be. A Christian Husband’s Catechism says that his wife is much better than he deserves and that he is a much worse husband than he ought to be. Scripture, if nothing else, is consistent. These “catechisms” are not.
    It appears that while Moses permitted divorce “because your hearts were hard”, there are some elements of our imperfect church militant that refuse to permit divorce for a similar reason. They prefer to cram a rotten marriage into a mold of their own design, and hold up the imperfect result as an ecclesiastical success when it is, in reality, a mere idol of the divine intention.

  9. Rick says:

    I continue to be amazed that anyone can refer to Piper as having some kind of special authority in view of the weirdness of some of his illustrations he makes regarding male/female issues (seriously, female Ninjas?). I want to be kind but some of those who refer to themselves as Piper fans extend his weirdness beyond even Piper’s original intent.

    • Tim says:

      The way he expresses himself, unfortunately, seem more and more to be getting in the way of any valuable insights he might have for the church. It’s rather sad to see him this way.

  10. Ruth says:

    According to this bloke, our marriage is serious danger of imploding! I do all the finances, business paperwork, taxes…even make decisions I don’t discuss with him! ( did I mention he doesn’t want to know as he has too much to do already and trusts me? ). Poor deluded man…..sigh…. Oh and when the Internet dies its is me who fixes it…2 adult males calling ‘mum, something’s wrong with the net’, meaning, mum will fix it, and a good job I do too!
    Hubby likes to shop and cook too, oh the shame. That’s partly because I broke my foot and other joyous health problems.
    I care for my father and his financial and medical interests too, and look after my sons affairs for now as they work awful shift hours.
    We work together on cars, motorbikes and all things mechanical so he should be ashamed of himself and me! I will admit that him being 6’2″ and me 5′ , just, does sometimes cause me to be wifely and submit to him getting things out of tall cupboards if I can’t climb onto the bench or into the cupboard or the ladder is too short.
    Very sad to learn that our lifestyle is Biblically wrong – not – God made me little, but strong and independent. He made my husband gentle and friendly and capable, together we make a happy team.
    Hubby says I’m a mini-matriarch, and I think he’s a gentle giant, works for us.
    This post sounds frivolous, but, seriously, I mean to make a strong point about each Christian being a person in Christ first, and male or female second.

    • lauradroege says:

      Good comment, Ruth. I had to laugh when you said that you’ll be “wifely and submit to him getting things out of tall cupboards if I can’t climb onto the bench.” You and your husband sound like a great match!

    • janehinrichs says:

      Ruth, I love your comments too. And I wish you lived near me. I am in need of someone who can work on our truck! No one in my family is good at this kind of stuff and so the truck sits! It sounds like you have a lovely, lovely, lovely marriage!

      • Ruth says:

        If your truck is somewhere close to Melbourne Australia, it might not have had to sit…sounds sad! We are blessed with an eccentric, crazy homelife which I love…it would send some complementarians running away post haste in case their wives got wind of my disobedience. :)

    • Tim says:

      I agree with Laura and Jane, Ruth. Your marriage sounds excellent. I love this part especially: “God made me little, but strong and independent. He made my husband gentle and friendly and capable, together we make a happy team.” What a great relationship in Christ you two have.

      • Ruth says:

        Thankyou Tim, we have our days, but all in all it is such a great place to be, very noisy, those fellas are all over 6′ tall, and loud! But we have such fun along with some grand dramas, and Christ is in the middle of it all….wonder if He kaughs at the antics in our place?

  11. lauradroege says:

    I read the “catechisms” and comments yesterday, but I needed time to think about what to say.

    What struck me was his use of language; the phrasing and intonations sound like they could be a “real” catechism or come straight from the Bible. That’s what’s so dangerous here: the wording sounds Bible-ish without being Biblical, mimicking God’s authority without being truly from God, and mixing lies and truth so thoroughly that the casual (or desperate-to-find-answers) listener can’t find the truth.

    Then I realized that this is part of the original sin. God’s words were twisted (“did God really say…?”) and added to (Eve: “we can’t eat from OR touch the tree”), plus His authority was mimicked by the serpent to tempt Adam and Eve to sin. And then, of course, everything fell apart, including the relationship between husband and wife.

    • Tim says:

      “mixing lies and truth” – that is one of the best analyses of those “catechism” posts that I’ve read yet, Laura.

      • Ruth says:

        Well put Laurs. A pinch of this and a pinch of that, and we have a recipe that sounds palatable until it is taste testing time. Bleh, missing an ingredient or two, like truth, and veracity and humility.

    • Hester says:

      He was obviously mimicking the language of the Westminster Catechism. “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever” yada yada yada. This seems to be a Reformed impulse. Then again, making a catechism for everything under the sun seems to be a Reformed impulse – it probably never even would have occurred to a Lutheran, Methodist or any other non-Reformed species of pastor to produce a “catechism” for wives.

      • Tim says:

        The real problem is that he claims these are catechisms without them being in the least catechetical, at least not as the church (Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox branches) knows of catechisms. There is no call from the body of Christ to write them, there is no council of scholars and pastors overseeing the process, there is no assembly reviewing the product and judging its merit.

        No, it’s just one man deciding it all. And by calling them catechisms he is giving them a weight of supposed authority they just don’t have. His readers and church members might not be able to see this, though, and take his word as gospel. That’s a problem.

        • lauradroege says:

          Having attended a Presbyterian high school and, later, a PCA church for ten years, I can appreciate the beauty of the Westminster Confession. Catechisms can be a powerful way to teach truth, but only when they are done in a proper fashion (as Tim described). Otherwise, they do more harm than good. This one isn’t a proper catechism at all.

          I really wish that Pastor Meadows had posted his scriptural backing for each “answer” he wrote. That way, we’d be able to see how he’s putting together his argument, and have a proper discussion about Scripture and scriptural interpretation of gender roles, our sinful natures, Christ’s work in our lives, our worth as humans, etc. I don’t think he has Biblical proof that what he’s teaching is true, but it would be revealing to see how his reasoning works. (What truth did he start with, and where did his logic go wrong? And, is this an area where my reasoning and logic are weak or flawed? How can I avoid falling into these traps when I interpret the Bible?)

          At this point, it’s a heated he-said, she-said type of argument between Meadows’ supporters and those who disagree with him. And I think that a pastor really should want his flock to understand the Bible (not just swallow his teaching about the Bible) and search the Scriptures for answers for themselves. (Like the Bereans, who searched for proof in Scripture that what Paul taught was true.)

          It feels like a term paper without adequate documentation, if term papers were written in catechism format and tone. (Never tried that myself. Kind of doubt most of my profs would’ve appreciated it.)

        • Tim says:

          Laura, he ended up posting some Scripture that he says supports his various points. Many of his citations appear rather attenuated to the original posts, though, and look more like trying to justify the “catechisms” after the fact rather than being scripture that led him to make the points in the first place.

          And that’s another problem with his methods: he had a conclusion to reach and then found the Scripture that supports it.

    • Maureen says:

      Bam. Very insightful.

  12. Pingback: PART 1 OF 3: 7 REASONS FINDING A NICHE FOR A CHRISTIAN BLOG IS DIFFICULT | BLOGGERNEECY

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